Fake News and the Paddocks, Canvey Island! The Viability of a 2 Storey Community Centre, acting as a Flood Refuge remains a Secret!

Let Canvey Islanders be clear, any fake news that concerns Cllr smith  regarding the Paddocks’ future, has stemmed from his own vague comments during the last Canvey Island community meeting!

The fact is the Paddocks community centre has been, for many years, left to deteriorate through lack of maintenance funding! That a municipal building should last just 5 decades indicates a scandalous and incompetent decision making administration that has been responsible for the centre!

Let’s be clear, the fundamental driver behind the Paddocks proposed rebuild is releasing space for more Housing!


The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Castle Point council’s intent for the WHOLE Paddocks site is clear, as stated in the cabinet agenda paperwork;

“The conclusion of feasibility work reveals that the Paddocks Community Centre building has reached the end of its design life and is beyond economic repair.”

“The Paddocks site on Canvey Island is an important community asset, and it is therefore entirely appropriate that the condition of the asset and its potential are regularly reviewed.”

“The construction of a new Community Centre will be dependent on “enabling development” on other parts of the site.”

The move to alter the Paddocks site has 3 purposes.

First, and most important to cpbc, is the release of Canvey land for more Housing development to satisfy the Borough’s Housing Need.

Secondly, the intent of the local NHS group to close all GP doctors facilities and centralise into the Paddocks Health Service facility.

Thirdly, the desire to draw up a believable Local Plan for the Borough. This Paddocks scheme will in effect provide Brownfield Land for Housing development. The fact that it will assist in defending the equivalent number of housing units on Green Belt land should by its suggestion, be supported. The fact that the site is in a Flood Zone and a Critical Drainage Area however, indicates a level of cynicism.

The fact that cpbc prioritise development on Canvey indicates their lack of moral fibre. However be in no doubt, cpbc having made a decision to place housing development in a flood zone ahead of mainland sites may well satisfy a Local Plan Examining Inspector.

It is no coincidence that cpbc have seized upon the possibilities at the Paddocks is no coincidence, given the silence over the release of the Blinking Owl site in the north of the Borough. Plans for the Blinking Owl site appear to have stalled, which is most surprising as the recent Essex County Council Highways announcement of intention to upgrade the Fairglen Interchange and the Government’s Consultation on Strategic and, more relevant to Castle Point, Major Road Network.

Screenshot (9)

The lack of backing for the Blinking Owl site should concern mainland residents, especially as Basildon Council have increased the potential of the Dunton proposed development to 4,000 dwellings. If Basildon can achieve development in a new area, why are cpbc so reticent?

The precedent for the type of housing intended for the Paddocks has been set by the height and number of storeys of the Flats next door in Long Road. The number of dwellings will evidently need to be enough to support the building of new community centre in place of the Paddocks.

One thing is clear, a new community centre SHOULD be of two levels, so as to act as a much needed Safe Refuge area from flooding for the many bungalows and for the less able and elderly residents living  nearby! Any proposal for a community centre of a single level should be Rejected as a matter of Planning Principle.

It will be interesting to learn the viability of a suitable new Paddocks scheme and the necessary level of new housing to financially support the proposal!

At the moment the extended NHS services in the Paddocks grounds, the new housing development and the loss of the free town centre car parking spaces and the children’s pool and activity area appears to be receiving more support from cpbc members than the Hadleigh Town Centre Regeneration.

These are not our words, but words of someone far more influential in the process of Local Plan making, words which cpbc ceo and consulting officers appear willing to allow cpbc members to ignore;

I have concerns with the approach in relation to the Green Belt; and the consequences of this on the distribution of growth across the Borough

As we now know, Green Belt remains a Constraint, whilst Flood Risk is disregarded.

Canvey Island remains and will continue to be the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough, whilst the status quo of the balance of Power continues at cpbc.





2 responses to “Fake News and the Paddocks, Canvey Island! The Viability of a 2 Storey Community Centre, acting as a Flood Refuge remains a Secret!

  1. In terms of flood risk an emergency evacuation strategy for Canvey Island needs to be devised. The approach to emergency planning is unclear, the problems of creating safe refuges and the fact that there is only one route off of Canvey Island if a flood event should occur, should challenge the continued desire of CPBC to increase Canvey’s population.
    The Council have assumed the flood defences will be maintained but no commitment to funding is in place. No account has been taken of the changes between levels 1 & 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) report where a real/residual flood risk remains even if the flood defences are not breached and how this impacts on the requirements of Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25).
    Furthermore, there is no evidence whether the potential problems in respect of the availability of flood risk insurance for all new builds on Flood Zone 3 and areas recognised to have critical drainage issues.

  2. Editor
    How predictable these conservative councillors are :-

    Letter to the Echo dated 27th March 2017.

    The Paddocks.
    At a recent Castle Point Council Cabinet meeting it was agreed to release from reserves a sum of £15,000 for a feasibility study into the best way forward for the Paddocks Community Centre on Canvey Island.
    Despite his best efforts Cllr Smith did not come across very convincingly when reassuring Canvey Councillors that this much treasured facility would not be diminished in anyway.
    Cllr Smith went on to state that a new hall could be built while the existing facility still remained available. This very idea would of course mean the loss of a considerable portion of the only free car parking space serving the Health and Town Centre.
    The immediate issue it would seem, is that the toilet facilities available at the hall are in need of renovation, surely a local builder would be pleased to undertake such work at the cost of £15,000. Should it be decided that the Centre is beyond economical repair then the question should be asked why?
    Some would predict that CPBCs feasibility study concludes that the whole of the Paddocks site needs completely redesigning and that a housing project is part of the outcome!
    This could quickly result in CPBC granting, in principle planning permission, in line with the Canvey Island regeneration scheme.
    Some would further suggest that the proposed consultation process ends with additional public expenditure, culminating with no alternative outcome from that being imposed. Hopefully this will not be the case.

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